‘We’re ready to go with our booster programme’

TRAVEL rules are being relaxed, a booster programme is being launched this week and 12- to 15-year-olds will be receiving vaccine doses, the latest States of Guernsey press conference confirmed.

Dr Nicola Brink at yesterday’s press conference held at Beau Sejour discussing new changes to Covid-19 Travel restrictions. (Picture By Sophie Rabey, 30008459)
Dr Nicola Brink at yesterday’s press conference held at Beau Sejour discussing new changes to Covid-19 Travel restrictions. (Picture By Sophie Rabey, 30008459)

The travel changes mean that from early October unvaccinated people can travel freely within the Common Travel Area, while vaccinated islanders will not face isolation when flying in from outside the CTA, unless they come from a red list country.

Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said this was a significant step forward.

‘This is not without risk,’ she said.

‘We know that. But we’ve done well so far. We might see more cases, we might see a spike of infection. We don’t know what the future brings us. But we are in a really good position. We’ve got a highly vaccinated population.’

She said it was important to keep cases low and steady.

Guernsey vaccine rate means that 91% of the adult population was now fully vaccinated.

Dr Brink confirmed that Guernsey would be following the UK with a booster programme, which would start later this week.

‘We’re ready to go,’ she said.

It will follow the JCVI guidelines, with healthcare professionals and care home residents getting the booster shot first, and then going down in age groups. The boosters are given at least six months after the second dose.

There is also a separate programme for extra doses for people immuno suppressed, which is already under way.

The UK’s chief medical officers has previously recommended vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds.

Dr Brink yesterday confirmed that Health & Social Care had agreed yesterday morning to follow the UK’s lead.

‘We now are looking at providing the correct information to these groups of individuals,’ she said.

The vaccines will not be given in schools. Instead, clinics will be held at Beau Sejour.

Dr Brink said they had decided to do it this way to allow students to discuss getting the vaccine, rather than just being lined up to get the jab.

‘We are developing a cohort of vaccinaters who have a particular interest and knowledge in this field,’ she said.

She added that they would be working with parents and young people on the programme.

For travellers coming into Guernsey from the Common Travel Area, they will still have to face paying £25 for a set of five lateral flow tests. This will be reviewed in a month and Dr Brink said they were keen to move forward.

‘Removing the lateral flow post-arrival for CTA arrivals is definitely something we want to look at,’ she said.

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